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Learn About Your Heart: Welcome
Learn About Your Heart: Articles & Resources

LEARN ABOUT YOUR HEART

Read various articles our doctors have been part of or published themselves.

They are related to things such as cardiac disease, treatment, surgery, heart devices, health tips and more.

Sleeping in Green Sheets

November 30, 2023

"One reason obesity is closely linked with sleep apnea is because of structural changes to your airflow that may occur due to excess weight"

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DNA Strand

November 14, 2023

“the length of time that these therapies work is longer than any treatment currently on the market. And in the case of the CRISPR [gene-editing] study, it’s potentially lifelong, which is extremely meaningful"

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At the Pediatrician

September 27, 2023

“It makes sense that blood pressure levels at relatively young ages affect our cardiovascular outcomes later in life"

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

Walk with a child

September 18, 2023

"If it’s cold outside, you become vasoconstrictive, so the arteries tighten up and the blood pressure goes higher. If you feel hot, then the blood vessels dilate and you get vasodilation that can cool the body down...”

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Man Doing Blood Test

October 19, 2023

"these two statins are equally effective at reducing the risk of future [heart-related] events, at least over the short term..."

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Upset Stomach

July 31, 2023

What Could Be Causing the Pain Under Your Left Breast

"The pain [of Pericarditis] is more typical with certain positions...It can be quite painful."

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Pills

September 4, 2023

"Some studies have suggested that [Lp(a)] can be attributed to a two to three-times higher risk for heart disease in certain patients at a high Lp(a), so I do think it’s a very important lab test that we should be doing frequently."

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Test Tubes

June 8, 2023

"Initially, there is plaque buildup in the artery, which causes irritation and then inflammation....The researchers hope the drug saracatinib can stop the process, which will stop the inflammation"

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Vitamins

July 14, 2023

“ [cardiovascular health] did not demonstrate a significant benefit of vitamin D supplementation, even if there was a trend toward one.”

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Vegan Bowl

May 29, 2023

"[Eliminating that [Saturated fat] dietary source will naturally reduce dietary cholesterol]. [though] It often goes beyond that"

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Love

June 15, 2023

"If someone has a history of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular disease, and they find statins are not working, they should talk with their doctor about additions or alternatives, such as ezetimibe or bempedoic acid"
 

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Coffee with Sugar

March 4, 2023

Is the Sweetener Erythritol Safe? Study Links It to Blood Clots and Heart Attack

“We have seen in repeated studies that sugar substitutes have side effects that go beyond simply imitating the taste of sugar,” he says.

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Sleeping in Green Sheets

February 13, 2023

Irregular sleeping habits may increase atherosclerosis risk

“The authors suggested that disturbance in sleep regularity promotes cardiovascular disease by disturbing the natural circadian rhythm of the body, thereby affecting inflammation, glucose metabolism and sympathetic neurohormal response. All of these factors are known to cause cardiovascular disease.”

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Psychotherapy

February 8, 2023

Cardiovascular disease: Poor mental health linked to higher risk among young adults

Dr. Ni described “broken-heart syndrome” as a condition that occurs after severe trauma, often before enough time for unhealthy behaviors to take their toll. Most broken-heart patients can be successfully treated.

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Dr. Yu-Ming Ni

Sugaring Croissant

March 2, 2023

Artificial sweetener associated with heart attack and stroke risk in high-risk patients

To find out for sure,  he recommends that researchers continue to examine the effects of erythritol in larger studies. As for guidance for patients, Dr. Ni suggests physicians drive home the importance of natural, whole foods that don’t rely on artificial sweeteners for a sugary kick.

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Sleeping with Eye Mask

February 14, 2023

Irregular Sleeping Habits May Increase Risk of Atherosclerosis in Older Adults

“It has been well established that sleep apnea is strongly linked to the development of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Dr. Hoang Nguyen, an interventional cardiologist at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in California.

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January 25, 2023

What to Know if Your Doctor Put You on Statins to Lower Cholesterol

“High cholesterol is only one factor in the development of heart disease,” he says. “Others—like smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes—play a role as well.”

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September 1, 2022

Why Women May Actually Have a Higher Risk of Developing AFib

“In AFib, the atria, or upper chambers of the heart, beat in an extremely disorganized way (sometimes up to 300 to 600 beats per minute). This leads to an increased risk of stroke and congestive heart failure,” Warrier explained to Healthline.

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Scientist with Microscope

November 23, 2022

Study: HDL Cholesterol May Not Be That Good at Reducing Your Risk of Heart Disease

Dr. Ni says that the study is “useful” for understanding cardiovascular risk in different patients, but stresses that “treating the whole picture is often more beneficial.”

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loneliness.webp

February 12, 2022

“In general, our emotional and mental health is closely bound to our physical health,” says Dr. Sarah Elsayed. "The COVID-19 pandemic for example, has shown us an increase in patients diagnosed with hypertension, palpitations and shortness of breath."

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Sarah Elsayed, M.D.

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December 20, 2021

...Since this is a comparatively newer diagnosis versus “cardiac conditions such as hypertension and coronary artery disease,” providers often misunderstand it. says Hoang Nguyen, MD.

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Hoang Nguyen, M.D.

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November 1, 2021

Inflammation from the flu can cause plaques, cholesterol, fatty substances, waste products, and calcium, in the wall of your arteries to rupture, leading to blockages and heart attacks, Dr. Wong says.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

When to Worry About Heart Palpitations, According to Cardiologists.JPG

November 8, 2021

Nikhil Warrier, MD, cardiac electrophysiologist and medical director of electrophysiology at Memorial Care Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center, tells what are heart palpitations? | Heart palpitations symptoms | Heart palpitations causes | Heart palpitations triggers | When to worry about heart palpitations | When to see a doctor | Heart palpitations treatment and prevention

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Nikhil Warrier, M.D.

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September 13, 2021

“(It’s) the most common irregular heartbeat in athletes,” Warrier said. “With A-Fib, palpitations is the most common symptom. The other symptom could be fatigue or exhaustion and not be able to perform at the level he’s used to performing it.”

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Nikhil Warrier, M.D.

Blood Test.webp

July 26, 2021

"A study showed that people with type A or B blood were 51% more likely to develop blood clots in the veins and 47% more likely to develop blood clots in the lungs," says Leann Poston. "Specifically, type A blood puts you at 6% higher risk of heart disease; Type B with a 15% higher risk; and Type AB puts one at 23% higher risk," says Hoang P Nguyen, MemorialCare.

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Hoang Nguyen, M.D.

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May 18, 2021

“These findings are similar to prior studies with older adults. However, this is an observational study and thus does not prove causation,” she says. 

Doctor: Dr. Jennifer Wong, M.D.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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February 8, 2021

Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the arteries of the heart in a process called atherosclerosis, which can start in one’s teens and 20s,” says Jennifer Wong, M.D.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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November 8, 2021

People with a blood pressure range of 90 to 120 systolic and 60 to 80 diastolic have normal blood pressure, says Dr. Wong. A systolic reading below 90 signifies low blood pressure.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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February 24, 2021

[Dr. Wong] points out that studies are needed to look into the effects of treating women at a lower blood pressure threshold before this would become common practice.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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October 13, 2021

But Dr. Patel urges people not to take the potential risks lightly that are associated with having a daily aspirin. "Even though this is an over-the-counter medication, it can cause serious side effects," he says. "The longer you take it, the more risk that you will have these side effects."

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Sanjiv Patel, M.D.

Prepared Meals

November 2, 2023

“The portfolio diet is a specialized dietary pattern aimed at reducing ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke..."

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Jessica Schachter, DO

Hummous with Pita Bread

November 14, 2023

“I think there’s some subtle differences in cholesterol. I just don’t think that it’s going to be just because one study says that maybe there isn’t a difference depending on adherence, I wouldn’t say that you shouldn’t do Mediterranean diet anymore.”

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Reminiscing

September 20, 2023

“There’s obviously a lot of different kinds of lipids out there that all can influence cardiovascular disease...We know that cholesterol is probably the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease"

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Family

September 11, 2023

"At a minimum, do what you can to find out if anyone in your biological nuclear family—meaning, your parents and siblings by birth—had or has heart issues"

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Calculator and Finances

October 17, 2023

Risk Reduction Program Helps Lower Chance of Heart Attack and Stroke

“If you’re going to intensely manage somebody you want to prevent problems, and therefore it should cost you less over time…I would have expected it to be a lot more than 0.4%.”

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Walking in Nature

August 8, 2023

"People who are sedentary tend to gain weight and we know that fat is generally more inflammatory, leads to more issues with insulin resistance, which can also lead to diabetes and leads to higher blood pressure, a lot of issues related to the weight gain,”

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Pills

August 25, 2023

"I agree with the study’s notion of how important aspirin is for people who have had a heart attack. We often assume that something is true based on our observation. This study gives us a clear answer. We now know that aspirin significantly reduces that risk for people at elevated risk of having subsequent heart events."

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Man and Woman Running

August 31, 2023

“Chest pain is still the most common presentation on both men and women, but women tend to have more of the atypical symptoms such as pain in a different location, shortness of breath, or fatigue.”

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

Fixing Electricity Lines

June 12, 2023

"It speaks to the stress of the upcoming work week; we know that stress can correlate to challenges [such as] destabilizing plaque in the arteries" 

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Shattered

July 19, 2023

"An EKG guides us in the treatment of these heart rhythm problems, and they can detect when our treatment is effective—or potentially harmful, requiring switching of medication."

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Doctor's Visit

May 3, 2023

“In patients with a history of coronary artery disease who are not candidates for bypass surgery or stents, beta blockers are essential to reduce symptoms of angina (chest pain) and hospitalizations for this symptom. But, if they have been re-vascularized (either by stents or bypass surgery) or have normal left ventricle function, I may attempt to wean off beta blockers, especially if they have significant side effects.”

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Hoang Nguyen, M.D.

Latte Art

February 13, 2023

Can regular coffee consumption help lower blood pressure?

“Those drinking 2 cups of coffee had 5-point lower blood pressure on average than those who didn’t drink coffee. The effect was higher for those drinking more than 3 cups of coffee, with a 9-point lower blood pressure on average compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. This trend towards lower blood pressure with more coffee consumption persisted for different types of blood pressure measurements, including an estimate of a more reliable blood pressure measurement called central blood pressure."

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Breathe

February 13, 2023

How Asthma and Heart Disease Are Connected—and What to Do About It

“Asthma causes an inflammatory process in the airways, and inflammation is a known exacerbator of cardiovascular disease,” explains Jennifer Wong, M.D.

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Sweetening Coffee

February 14, 2023

Hypertension: Can regular coffee consumption help lower blood pressure?
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“Those drinking 2 cups of coffee had 5-point lower blood pressure on average than those who didn’t drink coffee. The effect was higher for those drinking more than 3 cups of coffee, with a 9-point lower blood pressure on average compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. 

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Squash Player

February 14, 2023

Cardiac Arrest Risk Low for Active Seniors During Sports

Warrier agrees that the overall benefits of sports activity likely outweigh the low risk of sudden cardiac arrest. That said, "always talk with your provider if you experience any symptoms during physical activity, as part of an assessment of your individual risk for sports-related sudden cardiac arrest," he cautions. 

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July 7, 2022

Another common disease, liver failure—which affects some 4.5 million Americans, reports the CDC—can also cause swelling or water retention when "the liver [fails] to produce vital protein such as albumin," says Dr. Nguyen.

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Hoang Nguyen, M.D.

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January 24, 2022

"[D]iseases happen due to previous conditions that add up to a heart attack or a stroke, and are not typically due to random events," says Dr. Yang. “By being active, in general, you can burn more calories, lose weight, get muscle tone, feel better in your mind,” says Sanjiv Patel, MD

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Dr. Yang and Dr. Patel, M.D.

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February 2, 2022

The most common reason you might have to check your blood pressure at home is that some people experience "white coat syndrome," where their blood pressure is significantly higher in the doctor's office than it is at home, says Hoang Nguyen, MD.

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Hoang Nguyen, M.D.

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November 17, 2021

Vegetables have more monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which can lower your levels of LDL cholesterol and raise the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in your body, Dr. Wong says. As a result, it can decrease your stroke risk.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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September 30, 2021

“I think for younger patients, it could be an element of noncompliance: not going to doctors, not taking medications — […] especially young men," Wong stated. Moreover, Dr. Wong said, young patients often do not tolerate beta-blockers, a common blood pressure-lowering medication.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

Image by Akshar Dave 🍉

August 31, 2021

Dr. Warrier recalled a January 2021 letter to Heart Rhythm, describing “a potential interaction between defibrillators and the iPhone 12, where the iPhone 12 is close by, to disable therapies.”

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Nikhil Warrier, M.D.

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June 3, 2021

Nikhil Warrier, MD, cardiac electrophysiologist and medical director of electrophysiology at Memorial Care Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center, tells Verywell that previous research does support this relationship between stress and cardiovascular issues. 

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Nikhil Warrier, M.D.

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May 15, 2021

Dr. Nikhil Warrier, the medical director of electrophysiology at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, said the procedure “is an attractive option for closure or litigation in patients who are at high risk for stroke and not ideal candidates for long-term blood thinners.”

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Nikhil Warrier, M.D.

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November 11, 2021

“This is a very small percentage of [a specific group of] people who are reported to have this,” Dr. Wong says. It’s also important to take the risk-benefit ratio into account. The benefits of getting vaccinated so far outweigh the possibility of this rare condition, she says, if a cause-and-effect relationship is confirmed at all.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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June 7, 2021

Moderately high blood pressure: Exercise should be first-line treatment

“We encourage [people],” said Dr. Wong, “to make small changes — small increases in physical activity like walking down that hallway instead of calling up your colleague.”

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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July 22, 2021

“Red meat consumption has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease as well as cancer and Type 2 diabetes,” says Jennifer Wong, MD

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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September 29, 2021

 "You may see stories of young athletes who collapse on the court or field and die—some of them have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy." Dr. Nguyen says that not everyone who has the condition will die suddenly. But, he adds, "the risk is there."

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Hoang P Nguyen, M.D.

Drug Testing

November 17, 2023

“Uncontrolled hypertension is a major risk factor for developing atherosclerotic diseases... [and] often it’s such a future event that many patients find it difficult to take medication regularly."

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

Man Drinking Water

November 1, 2023

"Understanding the stress of extreme temperatures on the body and taking appropriate safety measures in these situations is crucial"

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

Blood Pressure Exam

SEP 16, 2023

“Blood pressure can drop when we sit or stand up, as compared to lying down..."

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

Egg and Bacon Sandwich

September 7, 2023

“It is important to know your cholesterol numbers and know what is good and what is bad cholesterol..."

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Dance Class

Oct 23, 2023

Can Leg Pain Be a Sign of a Heart Attack?

"The most important changes are implementing a regular moderate exercise routine and not smoking..."

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Blood Test

August 11, 2023

"as a result, {of deficient insulin response] blood sugar levels increase in the blood. It can cause the lining of the blood vessels to become damaged and so you can have more likelihood for plaque build-up on the lining of the walls of the blood vessels that can then lead to heart disease." 

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Produce Market

August 29, 2023

"Having a produce prescription makes it possible for you to incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet without having to worry about the potential downsides of the cost of the food."

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Practising Yoga with Mom

June 13, 2023

"Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise do not influence Lp(a). However, a healthy lifestyle typically lowers LDL levels, which does reduce your risk of heart disease." 

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Blood pressure monitor

May 26, 2023

In-office blood pressure readings may not be as reliable as you think 

“Simply being at a doctor's office can be stressful for the patients. That could drive up their blood pressure,” says Ni. “We also know that going to a doctor is not part of a usual routine for someone—our usual day-to-day experience is far different than that on the days when we go see our physician.”

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Vegetable Garden

May 31, 2023

“What was very interesting was the drop in the cholesterol of apoB [apolipoprotein B]. It reflects a tendency towards a reduction in the actual particle counts themselves, which in research has potentially been a more accurate risk factor for predicting cardiovascular risk in some patients,”

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Image by Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra

March 10, 2023

Regular Marijuana Use May Increase Risk of Heart Disease, Study Finds

“Smoking increases inhaled toxins. It doesn’t matter if it’s cigarettes or marijuana—you’re consuming those toxins and they’re getting into the airways, getting into blood vessels, and damaging [those] blood vessels,” he said.

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Organic Vegetables

April 5, 2023

“I would say that Mediterranean is a little bit more focused on lean protein and the use of olive oil and other vegetable oils in place of animal fats for cooking, and I think that emphasis is more helpful,” said Dr. Ni.

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Yu-Ming Ni, MD

Painted Heart

March 1, 2023

A new therapeutic target for the prevention of heart failure due to aortic stenosis

 “Beta-adrenergic activity regulates the sympathetic nervous system. We often actually want to tamp down that activity in order to help to support the heart, so it’s not overly stimulated and is able to function efficiently, requires less oxygen use, and maintains a healthy heart rate, which is generally between 60 and 100 beats per minute.”

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Dr. Yu-Ming Ni

Spa Fountain

January 31, 2023

Fountain of cardiovascular youth? One gene may help restore heart health

 “This research study suggests that [the] LAV-BPIFB4 gene variant associates with better heart health and longevity, and improved heart health when used as a treatment in heart cells.”

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Applying Facial Cream

January 31, 2023

Fountain of cardiovascular youth? One gene may help restore heart health

Dr. Yu-Ming Ni, a cardiologist specializing in noninvasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, explained that “this research study suggests that [the] LAV-BPIFB4 gene variant associates with better heart health and longevity, and improved heart health when used as a treatment in heart cells.”

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Couple Walking

January 3, 2023

Cardiovascular disease: Walking 6,000+ steps daily may lower risk for older adults

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August 2, 2022

"Please come to the clinic with questions you want to ask," Ni implores. "Your doctor is more than happy to spend the visit telling you what they are concerned about and what you should be doing for your health—but a conversation goes both ways. You should also have the chance to share your concerns too."

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Yu-Ming Ni, M.D.

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July 26, 2022

“If you’re one of those people … you should ask yourself, ‘Why is it that I feel the need to nap later in the day? Is there something I can do about the way that I sleep [so that] I have better energy later on so that I won’t have to take a nap?'” Dr. Ni explained.

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Yu-Ming Ni, M.D.

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February 14, 2022

In fact, people with depression are prone to unhealthy eating habits, not getting enough exercise, weight gain, and smoking, says Arvind Nirula, MD.

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Arvind Nirula, M.D.

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October 21, 2021

“If you don’t sleep well, stress hormones can build up and cause inflammation. This can potentially trigger a buildup of plaques, which can become unstable and cause heart attack or stroke,” said Patel.

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Sanjiv Patel, M.D.

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October 20, 2021

"Systolic blood pressure is the peak pressure during a heartbeat while the heart is 'squeezing,' and diastolic blood pressure is the lowest pressure between two heartbeats while the heart is 'relaxed,'" notes Jennifer Wong, MD.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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September 22, 2021

 “This [study] gives us a lot more ammunition and a lot more certainty that we should be more aggressive in controlling atherosclerosis risk factors [in] patients or even the general population."

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Hoang P Nguyen, M.D.

Pouring Red Wine in Glass

August 3, 2021

The study does not suggest that people with CVD who do not already drink start doing so. Interventional cardiologist Dr. Hoang Nguyen — who was not involved in the study — told MNT:

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Hoang P Nguyen, M.D.

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May 28, 2021

Stress raises blood pressure, which can tax your heart valves and prevent them from closing tightly, says Dr. Wong. One free and easy way to lower your overall anxiety is meditation.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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September 1, 2021

Said Dr. Wong: “I would feel comfortable recommending the handgrip exercise, especially given that most of the trials they looked at here were using hand exercises, and very few adverse effects seem to have been seen in these trials. I might even recommend it with additional aerobic exercise.”

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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February 24, 2021

Some key lifestyle modifications to make to prevent or reduce this condition, says Dr. Wong, include limiting salt intake to 2.3 grams of sodium per day, adding in a potassium supplement (unless contraindicated by kidney disease), losing weight, getting in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 40 minutes three to four times per week, and reducing the number of alcoholic beverages you drink per week.

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Jennifer Wong, M.D., FACC

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October 15, 2021

But, it is acceptable to take aspirin on occasion for other reasons, such as pain relief, assuming it doesn’t interact with other medications, says Dr. Patel. Taking aspirin in the short-term is not going to hurt you, but long-term everyday use is what’s concerning, he says.

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Sanjiv Patel, M.D.

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